Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Cholesterol Tests You Don't Know About, That Could Save Your Life

In 1979, when I was only 16, my dad passed away from undiagnosed arteriosclerosis. Cholesterol testing was not the norm back then and death was often the first sign that you had any blockage whatsoever. He smoked, loved peanut butter on his sandwich and did very little in the way of exercise (it wasn't promoted in the way that it is these days).

In the last thirty years, things have changed so much that few people I know don't know what cholesterol is, or haven't been tested to know what their numbers are, yet we have still got people with heart disease and it is a growing concern even with today's youth.

We are in need of good testing, dietary changes, and doctors who actually care.

My husband, Wayne who is tested regularly, has been told for the last six years by our G.P. that he needs to go on a blood pressure medication, and cholesterol lowering drug, a statin because Wayne had a 242 cholesterol number and basically he was going to have a heart attack, or a stroke if he didn't.

The doctor has also stated that he does not have to exercise.

He is busy at work, so no need for it,  just take the pills and all will be better. (This makes me crazy by the way, as I am always trying to get Wayne to go for walks, bike rides, or whatever will get him moving.)

Prescription medications are not something Wayne wants to take, so I decided to do some research on what else can be done. My dad never had an option.

The first thing I looked at was dietary, my husband likes meat, he was a meat and potatoes guy and assured me that wasn't going to change. If I couldn't take it out, what could be added into the diet to make a difference?

I have made his breakfast, lunch, dinner and packed the snacks for him for thirty years, I was fairly confident that I could add things in.

Juicing! I was able to find several recipes that said they helped with blood pressure so what the heck?

We bought a juicer, beets, celery, carrots and apples. The flavor was something that was a bit different, but my husband was willing to drink it, if it meant no meds. I am pleased to say that for him, the juicing does the trick and his blood pressure has dropped to acceptable numbers where he doesn't need to use the medication. We have expanded our variety of vegetables that we juice, kale is a big favorite around here, and juicing has become so important to our daily routine for both of us that we even purchased a smaller juicer that we take when we travel.  

As a side note, the G.P. was not happy about Wayne not taking the medication any longer.

Now for the cholesterol.  

We were challenged to "Go home and research it" by the G.P.

What I found was that there were two different kinds of the "Bad Cholesterol ". For simpler terms the skinny sticky and the fat and fluffy. Basically the fat and fluffy are not great but basically bounce around your bloodstream and are flushed out of your system. The skinny and sticky are the bad lipids that lay down like grout and stick to the arteries causing plaque buildup. The skinny and sticky can cause blockage as well as often times break off and go to your arteries causing strokes or complete blood blockage. I also found a few tests, such as the C-Reactive Protein Test that can check to see if there is cardio vascular inflammation around your heart or if there could be plaque buildup in your arteries, The NMR LipoProfile cholesterol particle size test, and the EndoPat non invasive test which evaluates blood vessel health.

I also found that most doctors won’t order these tests and the tests may or not be covered by insurance.

In order to get these tests done we scheduled an appointment with Dr. J. a  Naturopath.
After evaluating a food log and lifestyle report, along with the blood tests, she said "You need to exercise". FINALLY, someone who had the patient's best interest at heart!

  • This is key, With Wayne exercising, or moving as he likes to call it, more fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds added to the diet, no grains, wheat, or flour products, and less meat ( grass fed organic only) we are seeing a change.**

There are supplements like Red Rice Yeast that Wayne must take which is actually the original natural plant form of what statins are made from, yet because they are natural and all plant based he is much happier with this decision.

Weight loss, better sleep, and more activity have all been great side effects of this lifestyle change as well.

Wayne has blood tests scheduled this week to see where we are at, but everything indicates we are moving in the right direction.

My dad didn't get the chance that Wayne has been afforded, and I don't know if he had, would it have been something my dad would have been willing to do.

What I do know is food is the cure, what we choose to put in our mouths now, can either nourish us or possibly hurt us later. Our bodies are amazing creations and function optimally when we feed it the best fuel possible which is of course non processed natural beautiful foods. Would you put cheap gas in a Rolls Royce? Why then do we deserve any less than the best?

** This is the original text that was submitted for publication before I rewrote it to become "5 Tips To Combat Heart Disease and Stroke"**